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A REFRESHER about what works for Māori learners?

Started by Moana Timoko 14 Jan 2013 10:48am () Replies (35)

Kia ora koutou

What works for Māori Learners?  You may know, you may not - You may have some ideas and you may be seeking new ideas.  

You may want to share something that has worked for you OR you may want to share something that you've seen work.

How have you improved Māori student achievement?  Let us know how you know.

How have you improved Māori student engagement?  Let us know how you know.

How have you hooked your Māori students on to learning?  Let us know how you know.

Are you using a blend of face to face and virtual approaches to improve student learning?  If yes, how? - let us know.

I would love to read your kōrero - That's a bit of a play on words for you.

There are a lot of success stories out there but I want to read it, hear it & see it here.

There is a Māori whakatauki -

E kore te kumara e kōrero mō tōna ake reka - The kumara will not speak of its own sweetness.  

Share about someone else if you are not comfortable about sharing about yourself.


  • TeAhua Park (View all users posts) 14 Jan 2013 5:02pm ()

    Tena koe Moana.  Good thought provoking questions to start the new year. As i read your post i reflected on my own practise over the past year.  I thought about some of the key words that i feel have an important correlation to maori achievement.  Words like supportive environment, community  and whanau, cooperative learning, making connections, reflection, relevance, engagement, real life, inquiry and ict.  I thought about effective pedagogy and how there are teaching approaches that consistently have a positive impact on student learning based on evidence  (see page 34 of the nzc document).  i have recently been reading about teaching as inquiry and i think if we all followed this process and continually refelected on our practise and made the necessary changes for the benefit of students then we should start to address some of the issues.  But it definately starts from us.   On a practical note...i facilitated a connected class where students made the decisions, planned what they wanted to study and worked through an inquiry model, using ict to find info and take action.  Students were so engaged because they were the drivers of the learning..learning was about their community and ultimately lead to change for their town.  Learning was real.  In terms of traditional assessment student reading levels sky-rocketed. They were motivated to write, through blogging and writing levels improved. There were just so many benefits from using ict to support learning (e-learning)  and from using inquiry and reflection...and effective pedegogy.

  • Antzkapa (View all users posts) 06 Apr 2013 7:03pm ()

    Kia ora TeAhua, that's awesome information to read and positive too. Imparticular, I am curious to know a few of things please: 1. The age group of the students  2. The ethnic make up of the class  3. The location (small town, urban)  4. Parent contribution.

    My thoughts from your comments" Ownership is a strong key towards success.  Ownership, creates responsibilty, responsibility becomes an act, acting is movement, movement is progress, progression is steps towards success."

    Thank you for your post, it has been enlighting and has reminded me of some needed things.

    Kia ora 


  • TeAhua Park (View all users posts) 07 Apr 2013 8:14pm ()

    Tena Koe Antz

    Thank you for your kind words.  Very encouraging.  The age of the students were around 9/10/11 year olds (so Year 5 & 6)  The ethnic make-up was around 92% Maori and 8% European.  Our class was in Kaikohe (small town - population approx 4200 at the last census) and we were given a building located in the township - so centrally located to parks, shops and in the business district.  Kaikohe is a decile 1 community.  Parent and or community involvement ranged from parents who would just drop in during class time (not scheduled), parents who would come to the park where we would have lunch (informal), parents who would take sports duirng lunchtime, parents who took aerobics for our P.E along with other community members (ie. sport Northland) etc and parents who would come to talk to students or help with a project.  Parent inovlvement was an open arrangement, where parents could decide how and when they would interact or get involved. One of the aims of the class in town was to create a space that parents could "drop in" to, allowing them to see what their child was doing and get invovled if they wanted to.  I found having a class facebook helped facilitate parent invovlement, as they would comment on what we were doing, post suggestions and start discussions themselves using facebook as the medium. I would  see comments pop up on my board and I could respond to them in real time, so this too helped that parent relationship. Although legally students this age can't have facebook accounts, the reality was many of them did at home, so while we didnt allow them to access their accounts at school, we would post questions and get really valuable reflections or comments from students after school.  It just confirmed to me that students dont stop learning after 3pm, and through the use of internet access, google docs, facebook and email, students didnt have to stop learning in my class either.  Students also attended community meetings, so we had people from the business association that would visit and or speak to the students as well as a range of business owners, professionals or anyone that students needed to talk to in terms of their inquiry.  Students made contact with business people and arranged most of the quest speakers etc.  We rarely had a day go by without any visitors to the class and it was great.  Students loved sharing what they were doing and getting suggestions from anyone that would take interest.  As part of this we had reqular parent meetings and it was so encouraging when our spaces would be packed with people or when there would be standing room only and students leading it all.  It did take a lot to set up (all the nuts and bolts) and it was a lot of work, but the rewards outweighted all of that.  I'd love to share more about the connected classroom, so if you have any other questions, please feel free to email me as well.  (I'm wishing I would have recorded more so I could share examples.  I do have bits and pieces which I will put together and blog so I'll keep you posted)  Thanks again for your comments


  • Moana Timoko (View all users posts) 14 Jan 2013 6:11pm ()

    Kia ora Te Ahua - Thanks for sharing.

    Thought I'd share two articles about part of your journey here:

    Read about Kids Thriving on Netbooks here - an article shared December 2011.  

    Read about the progress of the Connected class working within the community here - Community focused schooling success - an article shared December 2012

  • Moana Timoko (View all users posts) 17 Jan 2013 9:38am ()

    Identity, Language and Culture

    “Māori children and students are more likely to achieve when they see themselves, their whānau , hapū and iwi reflected in the teaching content and environment, and are able to be ‘Māori’ in all learning contexts.”

    Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008-2012, page 20.

    Productive partnerships

    “Increasing whānau and iwi authority and involvement in education is critical to improving presence, engagement, and achievement. To achieve this, parents and whānau must be actively involved in decision-making and their children’s learning in all education settings.”

    Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008-2012, page 28.


    "...research shows that student engagement and achievement improves when teachers develop positive teaching and learning relationships with Māori students..."

    Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008-2012, page 23.
    Examples of what this looks like can be found here: Te Mangōroa
  • Kelly Yakas (View all users posts) 31 Jan 2013 12:15pm ()

    Tēnā korua Moana me Te Ahua.  As I re-read the Ka Hikitia statement above I wonder what it means to 'be Māori' and what this statement means for our tamariki and whānau?  Is 'being Māori' something inherent in our being?  Is it developed and enhanced by the experiences we have and the richness of those experiences?  Is it based on whakapapa?  

  • TeAhua Park (View all users posts) 01 Feb 2013 12:33am ()

    Tena koe Kelly

    You have highlighted some very important questions, and I definitely agree it is all the things you have mentioned.  As I reflected on what it meant to be Maori to me…I thought about several things.  I recall Patricia Graces story entitled Butterflies and how (at a very basic level) it highlighted the importance of perspective and how your experiences help to shape this.  Can someone who is not Maori say what it feels like to be Maori?  I’m curious! 

    In my family I have inherited being sight challenged.  We all wear glasses.  Funnily enough several of my friends wear glasses too.  We all have swops now and again to see who in fact is the most short- sighted of us all, and while we can still see the things in front of us, we have differing levels of clarity as seen through someone else’s  glasses. 

    Being Maori to me is about being born Maori (genetic) and viewing the world from my eyes.  More than that, it also depends on the lenses I wear (or the glasses I use) to help me view and understand the world I live in.  Things that contribute to my lenses are my experiences, my surroundings, my community, my upbringing, my culture, my tikanga, my whakapapa, my cultural concepts, my genetic makeup and my educational experiences (just to name a few).  How I view the world as a maori may differ because these things shape my perspective and I imagine I cannot say what it is like to view the world as any other ethnic group with 100% clarity. (Nor can I say that all Maori view the world from my lenses, although my sister and I wear nearly exactly the same prescription..lol)

    An example is the innate connection I have with Papatuanuku .  Growing up I could never really explain the feeling I had to the earth.   But on reflection, I think it is because of the cultural practices my parents, my grand parents, my great grandparents etc did to enforce the concepts of mana (mana atua, mana whenua, mana tupuna) through tikanga which connected me to the land (burring my pito and whenua, pepeha & whakapapa which connects me, my whanau urupa where I will return one day to be buried, ….and heaps of other things).

    I’d love to hear more from others…I can’t say my korero is backed up with research, but more so how I feel about being Maori as seen through my lenses.  Enjoying the discussion.  ;-) 

  • Moana Timoko (View all users posts) 31 Jan 2013 1:05pm ()

    Kia ora Kelly

    Immediately I think...allowing our Māori learners to 'be Māori' is about them not having to comprise who they are, how they act... in order to fit into an educational system that has generally not worked for Māori (on a wide scale).  I can elaborate on this but wonder what others think, and encourage others to contribute to this discussion.

  • Vanitha Govini (View all users posts) 31 Jan 2013 1:23pm ()

    Kia ora Kelly, You have raised very important questions for all of us. As teachers and facilitators, we read about 'Maori enjoying and achieving success as Maori.' What does that really mean? How does success look like for Maori students? I think we need to provide learning experiences that relate to our students, where our students' identity , language and culture is affirmed and that our children can bring their own experiences to their learning.(Russell Bishop) I feel that we need to know our Maori students as individuals as well, as each individual's experiences and backgrounds are different.

  • TeAhua Park (View all users posts) 01 Feb 2013 12:53am ()

    Tena Koe Moana

    I absolutely tautoko your korero and would love to hear you elaborate at some stage.  Thank you for promoting thought and discussion around Maori learners.  Awesome!Cool

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 31 Jan 2013 1:52pm ()

    Kia ora katou,

    Kelly, I have been really intrigued for a while by what makes us who we are. What makes a student 'Maori', what makes them want to be 'Maori' and 'proud to be Maori'?

    I remember clearly the Maori boy I have taught who told me in no uncertain tone what he thought of the whole school having to do Kapa Haka. But I also see my little son to two immigrant parents who is proud to be in the Kapa Haka group. Obviously wanting to do KH or anything else like this does not make one Maori.Smile

    Nathan Mikaere-Wallis says that we are made up by 30% nature, 70% nurture. If someone is not raised immersed in a particular culture - e.g. Maori - what ore who are they? The same is true of course for immigrants, and we have had some great discussions this week on Pasifika students and the challenges they face in education.

    I think some of what makes us who we are is (in no particular order) positive role models, knowledge about our cultures (many of us come from multiple cultures), confidence in ourselves, the opportunity of informed choice in what part of our culture we practise, pride in ourselves and our version of culture. Our version of culture might depend on where we are (geographically), what local culture is practised around us (at school, at work, peers etc.), where we are at in our life (age, relationships, work etc.).

    I won't believe we are doing enough for our Maori students until I can see the gap in education close, and Maori students standing as proudly as any other students in all aspects of the education system and later in all walks of life. Proud of who they are, their culture and their educational success. Until then I will try my best to support Maori students, whanau and educators. While I can't force a student to be 'proud to be Maori' or practise aspects of his/her culture (as my example from the beginning), I can help them develop confidence, gain knowledge, and give them all opportunity to achieve in an education system that aims to value and support everyone.

  • Phoebe Davis (View all users posts) 01 Feb 2013 11:09am ()

    Ka mau te wehi!!!  ˇhere is some awesome whakaro and korero going on in this group. Kia ora nga wahine toa.

    I would love to add my whakaaro too. Monika nga mihi kia koe mo wou whakaaro rangatira


    Maori achieving success as Maori its a focus I want to put energy into and for Maaori to go beyond success, beyonfd excellence.

    I will add more to this discusion. Arohamai. I haven't finished Im just stopping for now.

    Wahine mā awesome thoughts and korero.

    Moana Tau Kē...

  • Janelle Riki (View all users posts) 01 Feb 2013 1:54pm ()

    Kia ora ki te whānau nei. Nei ra he mihi aroha ki a koutou mo o koutou whakaaro.  What a great discussion! Thanks for kicking us off Moana and prodding the brain into thinking gear.  Many of you have made some wonderful comments some of which I whole heartedly agree with and some of which I wish to offer another perspective to.  Many famous Māori researchers and Māori philosophers have pondered the question of what it is or means to be Māori.  Most that I have read, agree that being Māori is linked to whakapapa.  Mēnā he whakapapa Māori tāu, he Māori koe.  If you have Māori ancestors, tribal links, a maunga, awa etc, then you are Māori.  To the best of my knowledge there is no 'scale of Māoriness'.  Being Māori is not solely attributed to knowing your language, heritage, history, tikanga and living in what some might view a 'Māori world'.  That's not to say that these attiributes are not incredibly important and advantageous however there are many Māori that may not have that knowledge but are very much Māori.  Feeling Māori and living as a Māori person to me, is a personal journey and one that is different for everyone.

    As far as Māori tamariki in our education system are concerned, I feel that we need to firstly acknowedge some things.  Māori had a very successful formal education system before the arrival of Pākehā.  It was partly based on the whakaaro that you learnt to live prosperously and collaboratively.  Tamariki learned through observation and participation and all whānau members were active particpants in the learning of all tamariki.  It was centred on a child's strengths, interests and sometimes their responsibilities and roles that were passed down to them.  The education system we have in New Zealand was one that was based on a colonial system and brought here to both aid in the speed of colonising Māori people, as well as to educate non-Māori in a system that was familiar to them and had worked for their ancestors.  It was not intended to or required to meet the learning needs of Māori as it was primarily aimed at assimilating Māori into the Pākehā culture.  This system has not changed very much at all since its' instigation.  The fact that Māori students have under achieved consistently in this system is, simply put... a square peg-round hole scenario!  Our Māori students are not failing in our education system, our education system is failing them!  For the most part it has not been equitable or conducive to Māori since it's introduction to our ancestors.  Many Māori children have been able to be successful in this system in spite of their innate 'square-peggedness' because they learnt how to play the game and play by the rules.  For Māori to be 'successful as Māori' in our education system, they need opportunities to celebrate being Māori, to enact being Māori, to have others see their Māoriness as a cultural advantage and unique potential.  We all need to lift these tamariki to the heavens and celebrate who they are and then look at ourselves, our schools, our systems, our attitudes, our pedagogy, our practices and our beliefs and ask ourselves honestly, are we being responsive to each child's needs in a holistic manner?  Do I see more than just the academic needs (the heads and shoulders) and see the whole tamaiti - their social, emotional, physical, spiritual AND cultural needs?  Am I doing the very best I can to help these tamariki to feel great every day?  For those tamariki that are consistently underachieving in literacy and numeracy, when do they get to feel successful in their day?  What do I need to learn and do to help these tamariki to be confident, connected, capable and culturally kaha in their future?  It's been a wonderful journey so far and one that we have made considerable gain in.  But the journey is far from over and we have much still to do to ensure Māori tamariki are being educated in an equitable, responsive and needs based education system.  Mauria te wero koutou ma - take up the challenge!

    Ngā mihi ki a koutou and thanks to you all for being committed and passionate about our Māori tamariki.  It is heartwarming to know that such wonderful educators are in our classrooms.

  • Beth Dixon (View all users posts) 01 Feb 2013 2:08pm ()

    Kia ora tātau

    He nui tonu ngā whakaaro o tēnā, o tēnā me te aha e mihi ana.  Māori as individuals?  Māori?  I'm inclined to think back to when our tīpuna walked this land before the colonials came.  They didn't know each other as Māori, they were Ngāti mea, and Te Aitanga-ā-mea and as such, individuals in these rōpū were identified by their skill in particular areas - whakairo, te taki whakapapa/karakia.  Success for these individuals was inevitable because their skills were nutured, their interest in their area of expertise was heightened by instruction and experience. I think of my own pāpā - Tīmoti Kāretu, Wharehuia Milroy, Pou Tēmara - all Tūhoe, but renowned for varing abilities and skill, and have reached the pinnacle of success in their respective areas.  So,  experience, instruction, whakapapa, connection to their enviroment, relevance, whānau support and empowerment, everything you speak about TeAhua ... that's the key.  Drawing on tribal role models, examples that can be used to engage our tamariki - not only in their immediate whakapapa but also the likes of Māui and his characteristics.  We need to develop and utilise our narratives, our stories so that our ākonga Māori can see they come from a long line of technologists, scientists, orators, masters, doctors, artists, sportspeople.  Let's remind them that their Atua are never far from them ... when they feel the coolness of Tangaroa, the gentle breeze of Tāwhirimātea, the rolling hills of Papatūānuku and let's not forget the pōtiki himself, Ruaumoko!

    Like you TeAhua ... not a lot of research to support my kupu, but I'm not worried because it's about treating them like people who come from iwi who are all of the above and more.  Maybe then, they may start to think they are successful, worthy and CAN DO ANYTHING!

  • Moana Timoko (View all users posts) 01 Feb 2013 8:31pm ()

    Ngā mihi ki ngā kaituhituhi nei

    I thought I’d share a personal story, a journey that I am living right now.  I have a teenage son who has just started secondary school.  

    A comment in his last school report stated that he..."needs to demonstrate more respect for the kaupapa of Kapa Haka." At this time my son is not a confident Kapa Haka performer and has never expressed joy in performing in front of a seated audience.  However as a young lad, he would haka hard...he wasn't shy, he'd rattle it out, pukana and make really ugly facials.  Te ihi, te wehi me te wana!  He made up his own words, and soon learnt them by listening to his cousins & other whānau members.  It was a normal thing for us to do. 

    Something happened over time that crumbled his confidence and crumbled his interest.  He would do anything to get out of participating in Kapa Haka. This saddened me, but it was no longer something that excited and ignited his soul.  His teacher had concerns and chose to contact me about his lack of enthusiasm.  I listened, I spoke to him about it, and I accepted that it was something that he no longer wanted to do.  I wanted him to be happy, and experience success.  Forcing him to do something that was making him feel miserable and less motivated was not an option. His teacher and I decided to let him explore other areas.  Opportunities were provided for him to participate in different activities – He was responsible for buying, preparing, and cooking kai (for many occasions).  He helped make crayfish nets, went eeling & fishing, smoked fish and cooked boil ups to feed his classmates.  He was engaged and was able to share his knowledge as his Dad is a hunter-food gatherer and he’d obviously picked up a few tips from him.  He always talked about what they did or what they were planning on doing.  As a result of his new found enthusiasm he felt successful doing what he normally does (with his dad) and his efforts in other curriculum areas of interest improved also. 

    My son has unlimited potential. It’s just a matter of tapping into his strengths, interests and natural capabilities.  His lack of enthusiasm about Kapa Haka had history and I’m just glad that his teacher agreed with me about not pushing it too hard…she acknowledged that it just wasn’t his ‘thing’ at the time.  I agree with her report comment about him needing to respect the kaupapa of Kapa Haka because he may have openly appeared to hate it…but again there was obviously some history stirring his behaviour.   

    The Māori potential approach in Ka Hikitia emphasizes that:

    • All Māori learners have unlimited potential and are naturally capable of achieving success

    Another guiding principle of Ka Hikitia involves ensuring Māori Learners’ background, identity, language and culture are valued and meaningfully integrated into their teaching and learning experience – Teaching and Learning builds upon what Māori learners already know and value.

    Hopefully my story illustrates this.

    This is a link to an article that shares some details about the Practical Life Skills Courses that my son was actively engaged in - Feast ends up famine - Unfortunately it’s a bit of a sad story because someone stole some their kai and boil up Marae pots.  The photo below was taken at a happier time and my son is in the middle, far left with the red t-shirt.  Check out his tongue – Is that an enthusiastic haka gesture or what??? 

                           Feast ends up famine

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